If you regularly check Facebook on your mobile phone, you may be unintentionally draining your phone’s battery. Circa CEO Matt Galligan has reported several issues with the Facebook app in an article on Medium.com that might be tied to iOS 9 on the iPhone 6s Plus. “Over the last seven days, Facebook is the greatest offender of battery drain on my iPhone 6s Plus,” Galligan said.
Galligan reported that not only did Facebook account for 15 percent of all battery drain, but he also disabled the background app refresh feature, which should stop the app from doing anything until he turns it on again. However, the app kept draining his phone battery. He also reported that Safari, which is a known resource hog on mobile devices, consumed less battery life than Facebook despite him keeping the app open a half hour longer than Facebook.
“The above problem may not be an ‘easy’ fix for Facebook and the way their app is built. Furthermore, I doubt that the majority of their customers would actually dive into Settings to discover such an offensive amount of drain,” he said, citing the unwillingness of Facebook users to detect why their battery is draining faster than usual. However, GSMArena’s battery test tool (assuming an hour spent on calls, web browsing and video playback) shows that the iPhone 6s Plus ranks a mere 23rd in endurance rating, which may indicate a problem beyond just the Facebook app, signaling a bigger problem with iOS and how it manages the battery of the iPhone in genreal.
Galligan also reported other battery drain offenders. Several websites were cited by Galligan as not very mobile-friendly, such as Boston.com, while USA Today and the United Kingdom publication The Daily Mail received high marks for not consuming smartphone resources. He also took time to make a statement regarding increasing network speeds. “Whether we’re talking about battery life, data usage or load times, they’re all valuable resources to mobile customers. Just because our faster mobile networks can deliver more megs per second than before doesn’t mean apps and websites should exploit that,” he said.
Facebook decided to look into the matter of battery drain. “We have heard reports of some people experiencing battery issues with our iOS app. We’re looking into this and hope to have a fix in place soon,” said a spokesperson from Facebook to TechCrunch. Several other users also reported similar problems, from describing Facebook as “user hostile” to audio issues with iOS. According to MacStories’ Federico Viticci, Facebook is guilty of what he calls extraneous background usage.
“My guess is that Facebook is hijacking audio sessions on iOS by keeping silent audio in the background whenever a video plays in the app. And because, by default, videos on Facebook auto-play on both Wi-Fi and Cellular and few people ever bother to turn it off, that means there’s a high chance the Facebook app will always find a way to play a video, keep audio in the background, and consume energy to perform background tasks,” Viticci said, saying that there could exist several factors that the end user has no control over, even if they dived into their phone’s app settings.
While Facebook works on remedying this problem, you can still get your Facebook fix while saving a little bit of battery—one can always go through Safari and log in through the mobile web browser. Or maybe just wait to stalk your friends until you get home and can do so on your computer.